Sunday, February 18, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST February 18, 2007

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Saturday - March 3

The Task Force Winter Party is expanding its offerings to includefestivities for youth!

ALL youth between 13 and 20 are welcome!

Tickets must be purchased in advance!

Call Nathan at 305-742-4793
Tell him you heard about this from GLSEN South Florida
Get the special group rate of $10 per ticket !


Express Gay News

Broward House gala honors doctors, other AIDS activists
Event at Signature Grand hotel features 1970s nightclub theme

Feb. 16, 2007

NEARLY 400 PEOPLE CROWDED INTO the Signature Grand in Davie on Thursday,Feb. 8, for the third annual Spirit of Hope Awards, which is also known asDinner with the Docs. Local magazine columnist Dale Madison was the masterof ceremonies for the event that honored local HIV/AIDS activists.

Among those honored was Oakland Park Vice Mayor Larry Gierer. Several countyand municipal elected officials were in attendance to support Gierer, whorecounted his own struggle with HIV/AIDS, and brought many to tears.

Angelo Castillo, president and chief executive officer of Broward House, andKathleen Cannon, vice president, presented the awards.

The other honorees were Dr. David Droller of the North Broward HospitalDistrict, Dr. Ana Pugh and Jean Starkey of the Children’s Diagnostic andTreatment Center, Fr. Dennis Rausch of Catholic Charities.


Express Gay News

Express, 411 announce staff changes
The Express Gay News and 411 Magazine have new top editors.
Friday, February 16, 2007

Phil LaPadula, who has served as managing editor of the Express sinceJanuary 2003, has been promoted to editor. Patrick Waechter has been hiredas the new editor of 411 Magazine. LaPadula, who is originally from theWashington, D.C. area, has lived in South Florida for 11 years.

He has been with the Express for five years, including a year as afreelancer before becoming managing editor. He graduated from WesternMaryland College with a degree in political science in 1980.

His 23 years of journalism experience include working as a writer and copyeditor for the PPI group, a travel magazine publishing company in FortLauderdale, and reporting for the BVI Beacon, a weekly newspaper in theCaribbean, where he was also an Associated Press correspondent. He haswritten both news and feature stories for the Express for the past fiveyears.

Patrick Steven Waechter is originally from Fletcher, N.C. He went to LosAngeles to pursue a degree via the University of Southern California’sResident Honors Program. He began his writing career as a freelancer for theAsheville Citizen-Times at age 12.

His publishing credits include Conde Nast Traveller UK, Vogue Australia andGenre magazine, which is a Window Media publication. In 1998, he was namedan authority on the faltering secondary market of Beanie Babies, writing ofhis predictions of trends in several nowextinct collectible magazines.

In addition to publishing, Waechter has worked in talent management,entertainment contract law and art consulting, most notably workingalongside famed art experts Barbara Guggenheim and Abigail Asher.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 17, 2007

Oliphant is cleared in botched '02 vote

Closing an embarrassing chapter in Broward election history, formerSupervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant was cleared of all charges.

The Florida Elections Commission officially dropped charges and finesagainst former Broward Supervisor of Elections Miriam Oliphant on Friday,sealing the book on the four-year saga sparked by the botched 2002 primary.

Her attorney, Henry Hunter, cheered, saying she was exonerated.

''This is it for the Elections Commission,'' Hunter said. ``This is it.
Miriam clearly wins.''

For the most part, Broward has ceased Oliphant-bashing. Many of her firedmanagers have moved on to other careers or were rehired by Oliphant'ssuccessor, Brenda Snipes. And election observers say they are more focusedon reforms needed before the 2008 presidential election, and that Oliphantis just one symbol of the woes that led to calls for change.

The Elections Commission on Friday ratified a decision it reluctantly madein November to accept the findings of an administrative law judge and dropthe charges, deciding that it couldn't prove its original 2004 charge thatshe ''willfully'' botched the election.


Veteran substitute sues Broward School District over Social Securitybenefits
Substitutes are not treated fairly, his lawsuit claims

by Douane D. James
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 18, 2007

A veteran substitute teacher has sued the Broward County School District infederal court and awaits the ruling on whether he and thousands of employeeslike him can begin collecting Social Security benefits.

"We're not being treated fairly," said Richard Friedlander of Parkland, thesubstitute teacher who is the plaintiff in the suit. "I'd like to see theSchool Board make good on contributing to the Social Security fund so I canget full benefits when I retire."

The district classifies subs as part-time or temporary employees and doesnot contribute any part of their income toward Social Security. Instead, 7.5percent of their income is placed in a private investment account that doesnot require the employer to contribute matching funds.

For regular full-time employees, the district supplies about 6 percentmatching income to Social Security.

The lawsuit would affect some 3,000 school district employees who areclassified as temporary and therefore not eligible for membership in theFlorida Retirement System, said Jane Letwin, the Coral Springs attorneyrepresenting Friedlander. The list also includes some continuing educationteachers, janitors and groundskeepers, Letwin said.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Feb. 18, 2007

Mountains of homes still listed for sale


It's a quiet Sunday afternoon in West Kendall, the third quiet Sundayafternoon in a row that Olga Alvarez has opened her house to buyers.

The carpets are vacuumed, the kitchen scoured, the orange balloons andopen-house signs placed on street corners. Three groups came through lastweek, two the week before. This time, Alvarez is hoping for The One.

At 1 p.m. sharp, she unlocks the door and settles in to wait.
• • •

The story of housing in South Florida in 2006 was one of waiting -- buyerswaiting for the right price, sellers waiting for the right buyer, everyonewaiting to see where an uncertain market would go. Now the question is: Will2007 be the year the market turns around?

The answer lies in the mountain of homes across South Florida with ''ForSale'' signs -- the single biggest indicator of a market out of whack.

If you look only at homes that sold throughout last year, prices on thewhole went up 8 percent to $280,000, according to a Miami Herald analysis ofsales in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

However, sales are only the tip of the giant iceberg blocking the market.The real story lies in the homes that did not sell.

For every home that sold in each month of 2006, an average of 14 did not,according to Multiple Listing Service data. The number of homes on themarket doubled to almost 66,000, as sales dropped to their lowest level in adecade.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Feb. 18, 2007
The last thing the River of Grass needs


Once upon a time, a kid could catch a stringer of bass anywhere in theEverglades, and fry up the whole batch with nothing to fear.

Now the bass are getting loaded with mercury, and signs posted on the shoresof freshwater canals and lakes warn anglers that eating too many fish can beperilous.

It's not a good omen when poisonous chemicals start showing up near the topof the food chain.
For that reason, Dan Kimball, the superintendent of Everglades NationalPark, worries a lot about mercury.

Kimball recently wrote to the state Department of Environmental Protectionabout a huge coal-burning power plant that Florida Power & Light wants tobuild on the western side of Lake Okeechobee.

The superintendent said that mercury emissions from the proposed GladesPower Park facility ''will increase . . . the risk of toxic effects to bothhumans and wildlife.'' He also expressed concerns about the inevitabledegradation of air quality.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Feb. 18, 2007
Our 'partners' are skinning us alive


On Valentine's Day, Chrysler sent a bouquet to its North American workers.Eleven thousand manufacturing jobs will be eliminated in the next 24months -- 9,000 in the states and 2,000 in Canada -- and 2,000 white collarworkers will be let go, permanently.

The SUV assembly plant in Newark, Del., will be closed. The Warren, Mich.,truck plant and South St. Louis assembly plant will each lose one of theirtwo shifts. Earlier, Ford posted the largest loss of any company in history,$12.7 billion, breaking GM's record $10.6 billion loss in 2005.

Toyota, having swept by Chrysler and Ford, is challenging GM for first insales in the U.S. market. When we were growing up, U.S. automakers had theentire U.S. market to themselves and dominated the world market.

How is Japan succeeding?

• First, the Japanese make fine cars.

• Second, Japan manipulates its currency to keep it cheap against thedollar, to keep the price of Japanese autos below comparable U.S. models.

• Third, Tokyo maintains a lock on its home market by imposing a value-addedtax on auto imports from America, and rebating that tax on autos and partsexported to America. This double-subsidy can give a Japanese car a 15 percent price advantage over a Ford orGM car in both markets.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Feb. 18, 2007

New motions filed in Trump flag case

PALM BEACH - (AP) -- Lawyers for Donald Trump have requested a jury trial inthe ongoing legal battle over a large flag flying at his Palm Beach club,Mar-A-Lago.

The second amended complaint was filed Friday in federal court, said JamesGreen, a lawyer for Trump. The case was moved to federal court from circuitcourt in January.

In the latest papers, lawyers claim that fines assessed since Januaryagainst Trump's club for flying the 15-by-25-foot flag atop an 80-footflagpole -- $1,250 a day -- are excessive and that Trump is being treatedarbitrarily by the town.

Trump has not paid any of the fines, Green said Saturday.

''He thinks the town is singling him out and signaling Mar-A-Lago out fordifferent treatment,'' Green said.


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